Courtesy of Repsol Honda Team Trial
The 2020 TrialGP World Championship gets underway this coming weekend at the Isola 2000 resort in France. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the contest will feature many changes to which the current champions Repsol Honda Team will have to adapt.
COVID-19 has affected the 2020 the TrialGP World Championship season. The originally scheduled season opener in May was subsequently postponed until September. Of the seven previously scheduled events – a total of nine points-paying trials – the calendar has been restructured to a series of four double-date events.
Repsol Honda Team, made up of current world champion Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami, the third-place holder from the previous world championship edition, will finally get the 2020 outdoor season underway in France this coming weekend. The event, held at the Isola 2000 ski resort, will feature new regulations and modifications prompted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The main novelty for 2020 will be a new system for the trials, with the competition route now featuring just 10 sections over three laps (previously events were 15 sections over 2 laps). The Coronavirus has forced race authorities to make each day of the event a separate points-scoring competition, each counting towards the championship (Saturday and Sunday). In addition, the qualifying day prior to each of the competitions has been cancelled outright.
The season will be an intense one for the Repsol Honda Team. It begins on September 5 and 6 in Isola 2000, France and will continue on the following two weekends, first at Pobladura de las Regueras in Spain, followed by the habitual event in Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra. The championship wraps up on the second weekend of October in Lazzate, Italy. All races are to be held on closed off road circuits.
The competition schedule for the French TrialGP will take half an hour longer than the other calendar dates, while the time schedules from the previous activities will be maintained: Admin Control and Technical Verifications (from 14:00 to 14:30), Official Practice (14:30 to 16:30) and Rider Section Inspection (16:30 to 19:00 hours). On the two days of competition the first rider will set off at 09:30, with the end of the trial due at 15:45 and the podium at 16:15 (in other events at 15:45).
Repsol Honda Team has applied a series of prevention measures against COVID-19 contagion. In order to do this, the team will comply with various medical recommendations, such as installing hydroalcoholic gel devices in the hospitality areas, wearing masks at all times and maintaining safe distancing whenever possible.
Toni Bou 1
I can’t wait to get started. Being inactive for so long, we have started to really miss racing. The sensations are very strange, and I imagine that for everyone it will be similar. Luckily, I’ve have been able to train and I think I’m in shape and really looking forward to getting back to normal. It will be a very different year, without a doubt, with a very short championship and the trials very close together: it will be very tough. Any fiascos could complicate things, so we will try to stay very focused. The important thing will be not to make mistakes. On the other hand, the trials are almost all at altitude which makes things even tougher.
At Repsol Honda, we will follow a very strict anti-COVID protocol in order to be as safe as possible, between ourselves but also in the countries where we are.
Finally, our intention is to continue with the momentum that we had before the break, which helped us clinch the X-Trial title. We hope to continue on this track, however we know that it will be tough to do.
Takahisa Fujinami 3
This year is a strange one for everyone and even more so for me because I usually do some indoor races and in 2020 I didn’t participate in any! So, I’m really looking forward to getting this started. I’m very motivated for this first race. I have prepared pretty hard for this. I have trained a lot and I have concentrated on having a good season in the TrialGP World Championship. It will be my 25th consecutive season in the top competition. I think that over all these years, I have always ridden at a high level and this goal remains the same for 2020 too. I would say that I feel very well, both physically and psychologically, and also, I think we have done a great job with the bike. I have worked a lot during this period. I really want to start the season now!
We are at the outset of a championship that we hope we will be celebrating. We are experiencing a difficult time for everyone, but in our team, we are going to take all the measures that we deem necessary, not only to stay healthy, but also to be able to offer maximum protection to everyone participating in the championship with all the guarantees. The riders and the team are eager to start now. They haven’t raced in a long time, but they are preparing for it. We have been working towards this start of the championship for a long time. It is our goal to continue winning the maximum number of championships possible, and that’s why we are all set to go to Isola 2000 and the other three events after the French one. Let’s see what happens race by race. Good luck to everyone.